Wednesday, July 07, 2010

It's Almost Election Time

I've been rather sick - this winter has seen some nasty bugs going around. I seem to have caught most of them this year.

One 'bug' going around is the political BS bug. We are currently being inundated with pollies' photo opportunities; press releases as 'news'; and leaders' media statements, complete with nodding acolytes. PM Julia Gillard has been busy working to clear problems, and enhance her image, and the image of her party. Within 24-hours of her Prime Ministerial dress-sense being questioned by women in the media, Julia Gillard has upped the ante this morning with a pin-striped "power suit". {Aside - why is that the media, especially women in the media, need to do this? Sell their journalistic soul for a quick buck, they would.}.
  • Julia Gillard is trying to be seen as firm, a listener to people, and decisive. Kevin Rudd has been removed from the media: he was not appointed to the Ministry, despite wanting to, and has kept an almost nil profile since. The mere absence of Kevin Rudd has done wonders for the Labor Party.
  • She has largely resolved the mining tax: at least it's off the headlines. No legislation has been announced, and it's unlikely till next year - after the election.
  • She has almost settled the issue of boat people with the announcement of the intended use of East Timor as a holding place. The sticking point is that East Timor has not yet agreed to do this! The move is, however, a move to the right to try to nullify the xenophobic one-liner non-policies of the Liberal Party, and appeal to populist voter fears. Nauru is off the list - Labor does not want to use a facility they, and the UN, criticised as breaching Australia's obligations to international treaties on refugees.
  • The superannuation revue allowed for the release of potential good news for most Australians. The retail fund managers made noises opposing, but have now kept quiet - perhaps they don't want people to start thinking about the high fees they charge!
  • The Building the Education Revolution waste, where schools have grossly over-priced, but underwhelming, buildings, has been quietly shuffled off to an inquiry.
Still to come are statements on: climate change/Emissions Trading Scheme/carbon tax; and a final settlement of how to deal with boat people.

I expect that Parliament will not sit in August, as scheduled. It could represent too many opportunities for the Opposition. If you've already had enough of unsubstantiated marketing from Labor, and the Liberals, you're out of luck. I reckon you've got another 6-8 weeks worth before the election. And remember, it's ALL just marketing. Marketing, marketing ... and repetition of unsubstantiated statements.Try imagining each of the parties' leaders in checked sports coats, cigar in hand, looking like shonky used-car salesmen .. err .. persons. At least you'll laugh.